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Preferred site revealed for Cardiff’s indoor arena

Atlantic Wharf looks set to be named the preferred location for Cardiff’s planned 15,000-seat indoor arena.

The proposed new £110 million multi-purpose facility – which could bring major cultural, sporting and entertainment events to Wales’ capital city – could be built across two sites in Atlantic Wharf adjacent to Cardiff Council’s County headquarters and the nearby Red Dragon Centre in Cardiff Bay.

Plans demonstrate that the arena could be built without the need for the Council to relocate from its County Hall HQ, but a more detailed feasibility study will consider options which include the wholesale redevelopment of the entire 30-acre site to ensure that the development can generate the maximum private sector funding contribution to the scheme.

Cardiff Council’s Cabinet will discuss the arena report at its meeting on Thursday, February 15th.

Cabinet member for investment and development, Cllr Russell Goodway confirmed that the indoor arena is a key priority for the new county administration elected in May 2017 as reflected in the administration’s policy document Capital Ambition.

He explained that the delivery of an indoor arena for the Welsh Capital was a long-standing commitment but progress had stalled in recent years.

He said that the June 2017 statement made by Welsh Government cabinet secretary Ken Skates in which he said, “having a multi-purpose arena in Cardiff is crucially important not only to Cardiff but for Wales” was greatly encouraging and that in subsequent discussions Welsh Government and the Council had agreed to work together to make it happen. Cllr Goodway said:

Cities is where the future is being built. Cities are the economic dynamos where over 80% of global GDP is generated and they compete with one another for inward investment and jobs. If Cardiff wants to compete with other major cities then, to succeed, it needs the necessary infrastructure to secure our future and a multi-purpose indoor arena will be one of the key components of Cardiff’s future economic success.

This cabinet report marks a key milestone in the delivery of a longstanding ambition but, more than that, it reflects how investment in these key assets can underpin the delivery of much needed solutions to other challenges facing the city. Traffic and transport is a major challenge for people living in and visiting Cardiff. 

A viable, high quality public transport service needs regular paying passengers. The ability to attract 15,000 visitors to the city on a regular basis who arrive either at the city limits and use park and ride facilities or by train in the city centre and need to get to the Bay will provide the passenger numbers which will help make the dream of a metro system a reality and expedite the completion of the Eastern Bay Link Road. It will also generate the visitors needed to sustain other visitor attractions in the city.

The professional assessment concludes that for a wide variety of reasons, the preferred location for the arena is in the vicinity of Atlantic Wharf. It supports our development aims for the city and offers the maximum opportunity to help create a revitalised visitor destination place in the Bay which connects directly to existing facilities at the Oval Basin and Mermaid Quay.    

The Council’s Cabinet will be asked to endorse the proposed preferred location and authorise further work designed to gain control of land and for a detailed strategy to be prepared on the delivery and funding for the new arena.